June 24, 2013

Bed Time Rituals Expanded


I decided on a little bed time ritual for my kids long before they were born.  I got it from the movie, The Story of Us.  In a scene around the dinner table, they played high-low, sharing what the best and worst parts of their day with each other.  I loved it instantly and filed it away as a must do someday with my kids.

We did High-Low for a long time and then, for whatever reason, it morphed into rose-thorn.  For months now we've been sharing our roses and thorns of the each day at bedtime before prayers.  

A few weeks ago, after a string of especially rough days with one of the littles, I realized that by sharing a thorn, we were bringing up someone's bad behavior that had been long since forgotten or recovered from.  That didn't feel great.  It didn't feel great to have one of the kids say, "My thorn was when ____ screamed in time out forever this morning!"  Yeah...no reason to resurrect the worst parts of our day so that someone feels bad right before they go to bed.  So I called it quits on thorns.  "If you feel like you have to share your thorn, maybe you can share it privately.  But I'm not going to share mine anymore because I don't want to think about the worst parts of my day as I fall asleep."

They liked that.  Every now and then, when there's been a particularly offensive thorn that someone needs to get off their chest, they'll whisper it in my ear, but usually they let it go.

But obviously, just telling roses wasn't using up enough time before lights out, because they've steadily come up with more and more things that must be shared at bed time.  First Haven started asking what my "stem" was.  The part of my day that was neither great nor horrible.  That kind of stumps me every time.  "You know, everything that wasn't my rose and that didn't involve crying.  That was my stem."  This, of course, is never good enough.  I usually weasel out of stems, but the boys have to tell me theirs every night or they'll just die.

Next, Hunter started asking what my "seed" was for the day.  What started my day off on the right foot?  For him, it's usually a good breakfast or snuggles.  I have an easier time with seeds than stems, but mornings are not my best time of day, so sometimes it's hard to must a happy thought from the wee hours.  But it's good knowing that Hunter is going to ask, because I find myself in the mornings, looking for reasons to feel good about the day to come, and that alone is enough to pull me into morning person mode sometimes.  

And last week, Hunter asked what my lantern was.  What on earth?  This is not a plant part, so it took me by surprise, and was clear evidence that we're just pleasantly postponing bed time now.  The lantern, as he explains it, "is the light of your day that shows you the way!"  Okay.  I'll give it cuteness points, but by the end of the day, I just really only have energy for roses.

But how to you shrug off something so dang cute?  I'm pretty sure that's part of their maniacal plan.  Just be as cute and sweet as possibly and mom can't possible turn out the lights.  She can't!  

And so it is that bedtime is slowly expanding into a regular botanist's dream land.  Pretty soon we'll have sepals and stamens, maybe some solar lights or landscaping rocks for good measure.   But it could be a whole lot worse than having a good chunk of time each night that your kids fight tooth and nail to tell you some more good things about their day.  Right?

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